The US Supreme Court on Friday halted the execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip, a man who even the state attorney general says should not face the death penalty.
The decision comes after Glossip has endured 26 years behind bars, nine execution dates, three last meals and two independent investigations that raised serious doubts about his conviction. He was facing what could be the final days of his life.
At the time of the emergency hold, Glossip was in what he believed would be a final visit with his wife, Lea, an Oklahoma state official close to the Glossip case told CNN. With about 30 minutes left in their visit, someone knocked on the door and asked them to come out into the hall. Both Glossip and his wife were told about the Supreme Court stay together, he says.
“I yelled out, ‘you’re kidding!’ at first,” Glossip first told CNN. He and his wife “just grabbed each other” after they found out, he said.
“I want to continue to fight. I want to continue to get my message out to people,” Glossip said in a phone call Friday afternoon.
The hold will stay in place while the justices consider Glossip’s requests that they formally take up his case.
Glossip, 60, remains hopeful his life will be spared so he and his wife can continue to build one together – maybe outside the walls of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Married just last year, their life together has so far been limited to visits and phone calls.
Similarly, a growing pool of supporters that includes not only his wife and attorneys, but media star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian, TV talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, Innocence Project board member Jason Flom, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond and a bipartisan group of 62 Oklahoma legislators, are hoping to save his life, pointing to a myriad of questions about his guilt and the process that landed him on death row.